Once non-essential international travel resumes on 17 May, people in England will be able to travel to 12 countries without self-isolating at home or paying to quarantine in a hotel when they return.
The 12 countries and islands are: Australia, Brunei, the Faroe Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Israel, New Zealand, Portugal – including Madeira and Azores – Singapore, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and St Helena, Tristan de Cunha and Ascension Island.
However, Australia, Brunei, the Falkland Islands, New Zealand and Singapore’s borders are currently closed to non-residents, Israel is currently only permitting a limited number of pre-arranged tours and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in the South Atlantic are only accessible by cruise.
Meanwhile, St Helena, Tristan de Cunha and Ascension Island – also remote islands in the South Atlantic – can only be visited from the UK if you travel through South Africa, which is on the government’s ‘red’ list – so depending on your length of stay, it’s most likely you would have to pay to quarantine in a government-approved hotel on your return to the UK. So that narrows your options to Portugal, Gibraltar, Iceland and the Faroe Islands...
Portugal’s secretary of state for tourism, Rita Marques told the BBC, “I do believe that Portugal will soon allow restriction-free travel, not only for vaccinated people, but those who are immune or who test negative. We hope to welcome British tourists from 17 May. Everything will be ready by mid-May.”
The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, on the southern tip of Spain, is open to visitors from Britain – as long as you travel there by land. However, this means travelling through France and Spain, which are both on the amber list. If you return to England through Spain and France under the current rules, you would need to self-isolate at home for 10 days.
For more information visit: visitgibraltar.gi
Iceland welcomes visitors with certificates proving they are fully vaccinated or have already recovered from Covid-19. These travellers still need to take a test on arrival in Iceland and self-isolate until the result comes through (usually less than 24 hours).
For more information visit: visiticeland.com
This archipelago, halfway between Scotland and Iceland, welcomes travellers who have been vaccinated at least eight days before their departure. If you have not been vaccinated, you will need to quarantine for four days – the day you arrive counts as ‘day zero’. All adult travellers must pay to take a PCR test at the border. Children under 12 years are not required to take one. You need to self-isolate until you receive the result.
For more information visit: visitfaroeislands.com
While travel restrictions can change at short notice, the UK government has promised to provide updates every three weeks, so the next one is expected around late May or early June. Cross your fingers more countries will be added to the green list – just in time for summer.